Kolkata, April 23 IANS | 8 months ago

Five groups of Gambhira folk dancers, clad in embellished psychedelic costumes and sporting giant masks, are generating a buzz about voting in West Bengal's Malda district.

It's part of the Election Commission's Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme.

Six seats spread over four districts - Muslim majority Malda and Murshidabad, besides North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur - are up for grabs in phase two of Lok Sabha polls in the state Thursday.

Spread over 3,733 sq km, the district, dotted with mosques, comprises two subdivisions Malda Uttar (North) and Malda Dakshin (South) that also form the two parliamentary constituencies.

Gambhira, originating in the region, is popular with the locals. The dancers are used to spread social messages complete with thrumming music and choreography. Now, they will also help increase the voter turnout.

"Since it is already popular with the locals, we divided the five groups to perform in every municipality and block. The response has been overwhelming in certain areas where as many as 500 electors gathered to watch the show," Sangey Dukpa, officer in-charge of SVEEP in Malda, told IANS.

The dancers are accompanied by tableaus depicting ethical voting to sensitise the more than 39 lakh residents who will elect their representatives from 2,646 polling stations spanning the district.

(Posted on 23-04-2014)

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